St Patrick's Day Festival in Scranton, Pennsylvania

by Leyla Norman Google

Twirlers, bagpipers and marching bands celebrate their way through the streets of Scranton, Pennsylvania, every year the weekend before St. Patrick's Day. The parade is the second largest in America by the number of participants per population, according to the parade's official website. If you're planning a vacation, around the parade, book your hotel rooms at least six to eight months ahead of time, as rooms fill up fast.

Size

The Scranton St. Patrick's Day parade has approximately 12,000 participants each year. Bands, dance troupes, twirlers and others in the parade follow the parade route down Wyoming Avenue to Lackawanna Avenue and around to Washington Avenue. In 2010, an estimated 40,000 spectators enjoyed the festivities from the sidewalks of Scranton's streets.

Visiting

Book your hotel rooms in Scranton as early as possible, and arrive at St. Peter's Cathedral at 10 a.m. the day of the parade to start the day off right. The parade itself starts at noon, so arrive early to get a good viewing spot. The event is free of political ads and alcohol, making it a positive family event. You also don't have to worry about being hit in the head by pieces of candy or other goodies at this parade, as parade participants must hand out freebies, not throw them, to the crowd.

To Participate

Those who want to participate in the parade should apply as early as possible. The parade committee structures the parade around the earliest submitted applications. On the application, available at StPatParade.com, participants should enter a short description of their entries and explain their entertainment value to the crowd to get a good spot in the parade. The official line up is announced in "The Scranton Times-Tribune" and on StPatParade.com shortly after the application period closes about two weeks before the parade.

Sponsors

Sponsors can enjoy an appreciation dinner the Sunday before the parade each year where the highlights of the parade are discussed and parade dignitaries are announced. Sponsorships are available at several levels ranging from $50 to $5,000. Some of the perks include advertising on the radio, television, in the newspaper and on the StPatParade.com. Those who want to become sponsors should contact the parade committee through the parade's website.

About the Author

Leyla Norman has been a writer since 2008 and is a certified English as a second language teacher. She also has a master's degree in development studies and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.